Creating a visual identity – everything starts with collaboration

PBL-BioAfrica has a meaningful and visually appealing logo that was created by a Finnish graphic designer. What does a design process look like behind the scenes?


The visual identity of the project PBL-BioAfrica was designed by Mr Roope Kiviranta, Designer at Aalto Global Impact (AGI). Roope has been working for AGI for several years as a designer and communications specialist, and has worked in many multidisciplinary and problem-based learning projects before this one.


“For me personally, a logo should always be as simple and clear as possible, and it should also have a clever catch to it – something that represents the essence of the challenge or the project”, Roope says.


It is particularly important to keep a logo easy to remember, which means that it must be simple and the typography needs to be clear and easy to read. A logo also needs to be swiftly representative of the project or brand. Logo designing requires a lot of skill, as designers must pay attention to quality, reproducibility, adaptation and legibility.


In designing a logo for an intercontinental project, such as PBL-BioAfrica, it comes to an extra level of complexity as the designer has to find a middle ground among the very different and vast request of participants present in the project, while sticking to the basic design principles.


“I started the work by digging deeper into the core themes of the project: bioeconomy and collaboration. The circular arrow represents the circularity in bioeconomy but also growth. As for collaboration, the green and red colours – which can be seen as different fields or project partners – come together at the bottom of the logo, creating something new together”, Roope explains.


The colours are drawn from the flags of Kenya and Zambia. The black section on the bottom can also be seen as a representation of soil, from which everything begins. In addition, the negative space in the middle of the circular arrow forms the shape of a seed.


The colours and font of the logo are used in all public materials to tell students, staff members, industrial stakeholders and policy makers a unified message about togetherness, circulation of raw materials and ideas, and growth.